Taos 4 Star FWQ Weekend Recap
Taos, the location of the oldest freeride event in North America, was this year’s third stop in the Freeride World Qualifier 4 Star series. From March 1-4 (just three weeks after the Crested Butte event) the Snowledge crew found themselves in New Mexico and ready to ride the rowdy terrain.
On the day of registration, 21” of fresh powder was followed by a buffet fit for a king, or 150 athletes. Thursday, inspection day, coincided with the 2 star competition, so athletes spent the day contemplating their lines from the bottom of the venue. After an hour of looking through binoculars, the Snowledge crew decided it was time to go slay some pow! (Taos is known for its iconic Kachina Peak, which opened that same day for hike-only access.)
Day One was held on the standard 4 star qualifying venue of West Basin 1 (looker’s left) and West Basin 2 (looker’s right). Everyone was frothing over the new snow and the high-quality venue delivering unlimited line options. Eric, Brandon, and Brian chose lines in West Basin 2, which had the freshest snow. Eric claimed the most airtime of the day for all athletes, but unfortunately couldn’t manage to put it to his feet. Brian rode a zone with a steep spine to a mandatory air at the bottom, but hit an unexpected ice patch. Brandon skied a technical line on Bamboo Spine and stomped some sizeable airs on his way to qualifying for the finals!
Strong skiing and great weather was on tap again for Day Two, as the athletes returned to West Basin 1 and 2. Erika Vikander took the win in Women’s Snowboard, while Colin Lanigan came through first in the Men’s Snowboard category. On the Women’s Ski side, Rachel Croft sealed the victory with a spicy straight line through the cliffs in Heavy Timber. Sam Kuch stole the show in Men’s Ski with a fast, fluid line that included several huge airs. Big shout out to Brandon for getting the crowd pumped up, hitting the biggest air of the day, skipping off of some rocks, and somehow stomping the landing. Congratulations to all the Taos athletes for sending big lines and giving the crowd such an entertaining show.